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By crossing the Atlantic, De Ro crossed the line
by Ridge Mahoney, December 30th, 2010 2AM

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TAGS:  mls, scotland, toronto fc

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That Dwayne De Rosario, he’s got some nerve, eh, going off to Glasgow to land a loan gig with Glasgow Celtic without so much as a nod and a wink from Toronto FC.

Who does he think he is? David Beckham? Yeeesh.

Well, right, Beckham did it on the sly, too, but did it on the sly behind the scenes, carefully crafting a loan clandestinely with AC Milan that caught MLS and the Galaxy completely by surprise and gave the league and the team no choice but to grudgingly acquiesce and gouge out a decent fee.

A fee may be forthcoming should Celtic, TFC and MLS negotiate an agreement, but nothing can eradicate how brazenly De Rosario bolted overseas on his own and left his club spluttering its humiliation and outrage. True, TFC’s four years in MLS have been marred by continual cock-ups interrupted occasionally by pratfalls; De Ro has been on board for the last three campaigns, but one would have thought he’d embarrassed his club sufficiently by pantomiming the writing of a check while celebrating a goal against San Jose, his original MLS team, a few months ago.

In 2009, TFC signed Canadian international Julian de Guzman as its first Designated Player; he earned $1,717,546 (U.S. currency) in 2010. A second DP, Mista, signed this season and pulled down $987,337, which left De Rosario ($443,750) a bit disgruntled.

Requests from De Rosario to renegotiate his MLS deal have yet to be answered, and only he knows whether this jaunt to Scotland is a bargaining ploy, a genuine attempt to force a loan and/or transfer, or merely a training exercise to prepare for the start of MLS preseason in late January.

As if TFC fans haven’t suffered enough through a revolving door of head coaches and players during the reign of Mo Johnston, now they read and hear of De Rosario’s representatives claiming that De Ro had been granted permission for the visit and TFC interim general manager Earl Cochrane refuting such claims.

As yet, “consultant” Juergen Klinsmann has yet to offer his counsel, at least publicly.

Now, if De Ro had initiated discussions of trip to Scotland, been denied permission, and went regardless, he’d still be wrong, but less wrong than he is now and with more public opinion on his side. TFC fans are surely embittered at how badly the team has been run, but few would want it so clownishly portrayed in public.

There are several ironies entangled here. A fair portion of the TFC fan base is of Scottish origin. How will their reactions be split at De Ro’s actions, hie-ing off to Scotland and leaving his club humiliated?

De Rosario is a kinetic, spectacular attacker rare in a league often devoid of sparkle. He’s been consistently productive during his MLS stints in San Jose, Houston and Toronto. He led TFC this past season with 15 goals, accounting for nearly one-half of its paltry total of 33. Those are numbers Mista (waived after the season ended) and de Guzman, not to mention Beckham, can only dream about. In MLS, as in life, compensation and performance do not always jibe.

He is used to getting his way in Toronto. Stung by De Ro’s bitter, public criticism of the artificial surface originally installed at BMO, TFC officials a year ago coughed up about $6 million to install a grass field and upgrade the facility. That was the right thing to do, yet did they empower their star to stretch his influence?

Many observers felt he crossed the line by mock-writing a check in front of the fiercely loyal but increasingly discontented fans at BMO Field. If so, he was simply being De Ro. He can be petulant, temperamental and insufferable, but he’s a competitor, a gambler, devoted to daring and sometimes outrageous means of dismantling opponents. He loves to play and hates to lose. There’s not much wrong in that.

But a player’s club, right or wrong, cannot be so disdainfully dissed by a marquee player. This situation is one big stink bomb and no matter how it turns out, TFC and De Ro may never patch it back together.



0 comments
  1. Nathan Geason
    commented on: December 30, 2010 at 10:42 a.m.
    did he say cock-ups?

  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: December 30, 2010 at 11:34 a.m.
    Professional atheletes have finite careers. It's in their best interest to seek the best deal when they have some sort of leverage. DeRosario's "check writing" antics aside, he should be one of the highest paid player's in MLS. He is one of the few players in MLS who is worth the price of admission.

  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: December 30, 2010 at 11:55 a.m.
    This is a really interesting development. Mahoney is correct to frame DeRosario's salary next to Mista and de Guzman. DeRosario has been too important to MLS for them to overpay failed European players over and above him. But at the same time, he is the second highest paid domestic MLS player, just ahead of Shalrie Joseph and quite a bit behind Landon Donovan. Rising DP salaries have clearly raised concerns for MLS, and it really is too bad to see a quality player like DeRosario angered enough to jet off to Scotland because of it. -gak

  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: December 31, 2010 at 8:38 p.m.
    Considering just how strong the fan support has been in Toronto, second only to maybe Seattle...they really deserve a much better front office, and the fact that unlike so many others in the league, DeRosario has actually delivered simply means that he clearly deserves to be treated better than just another player on Toronto's roster. Is this a wonderful thing for this team or for that matter for the league...well no it's not, but it just underlines how problematic the single entity strucure is for the continued growth of the league... simply put, if you don't find ways to pay true star players remotely what they are worth... you will lose them. That DeRosario has been a key player on Canada's roster as well means that he has value to Toronto that might not be as apparent if he was still playing in Houston... but, and it's a vital but... so long as the league continues to expand and at the same time doesn't find ways of paying it's players better, you are going to continue to see this sort of thing happen...and more so with teams that splash around money but come up rather short on results... Toronto was hosting the MLS final but, there was little or no hope that their team would actually be taking part in that final and THAT is something that should worry all those in charge of both this team and the MLS... and lastly, see what league their star is toying around with...it's not even Germany or England...it's SCOTLAND...maybe not Scandinavia like so may other of our players but certainly not say Italy or Spain! (ICE)


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